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Despite being a traditionally male-dominated sport, female jockeys have been winning a lot of plaudits in recent times. Thankfully, when assessing the overall landscape in horse racing, female riders are evidently making great strides, but there is still a way to go. For example, a recent study undertaken by the University of Liverpool showed that just 5.2% of rides over the last 14 years were by females. Additionally, the vast majority of female horse riders only hold amateur licenses. Thanks to an array of talented jockeys, though, there is hope.
In fact, one of the big draws of today’s horse riding offering is that both male and female riders can compete against each other. As we’ve already touched on, there’s evidently a way to go before equality is fully achieved in the sport, but the signs are encouraging. As horse racing continues to embrace female jockeys, an array of talented riders are making a name for themselves. With plenty of world-famous races to look forward to in the year ahead, let’s take a look at some of the top female jockeys worth keeping tabs on in 2022.
After a hugely successful 2019, 25-year-old Hollie Doyle is an instantly recognisable female jockey. Having amassed a staggering £1 million in prize money and beating Josephine Gordon’s record of riding 106 winners by riding 116 herself, Doyle is a fierce and immensely talented competitor. The English jockey has even finished ahead of highly respected male riders like Richard Kingscote and Ryan Moore in the annual jockeys’ standings in the past. Doyle has also finished third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award 2020 and was named the Sunday Times sportswoman of the year.
Given her exploits on the track, Jamie Kah is something of a celebrity down under. The Australian jockey has been the world’s top-ranked female jockey since 2020, riding in respected competitions like the Melbourne Jockeys championship, where she’s competing against the likes of Jye McNeil, Damian Lane and other Melbourne jockeys this year. Kah is particularly famous for being the first-ever jockey to ride over 100 winners in a Melbourne Metropolitan racing season, a quite remarkable achievement in the sport. Other notable successes have come in the Australian Cup at Flemington, alongside a whole host of other victories along the way.
A National Hunt jockey with plenty of talent, Irish rider Rachael Blackmore is an undoubted star of the sport. Her biggest win came last year when she won the Grand National in what was nothing short of an iconic moment. Becoming the first-ever female rider to win the 182-year-old race isn’t her only achievement, though, with Blackmore also reigning supreme six times at Cheltenham Festival while also managing to achieve an incredible 11 Grade Ones last year, too.
Hayley Turner OBE
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A highly respected jockey who competes in flat racing, Hayley Turner became the first woman to ride 100 UK flat race winners during a calendar year. Other notable successes have come at Royal Ascot, where Turner registered yet another remarkable victory by becoming only the second female rider to dominate the rest of the Sandringham field.
A rising star in the sport, Scottish jockey Nicola Currie had a particularly fruitful last campaign, claiming the All-Weather Championships after riding a total of 30 winners. Since that impressive accomplishment, Currie has gone on to race in Saudi Arabia during the Jockeys’ Challenge competition, becoming the first-ever woman to do so in the process. Currie hasn’t matched some of the achievements of the other female riders on the list, but, somewhat evidently, she has the talent to do so.
Other top female jockeys in the sport right now include the likes of Mickaelle Michel, Megan Nicholls, Josephine Gordon, and Bryony Frost.